This week was filled with lots of unexpected time with my family. A big snow storm and sub-zero temperatures shut down our city state for a few days, so we were holed up in the house waiting for the streets to clear. We went out to dinner last Friday night and that was our last outing until we left the house on Wednesday morning! We were able to play in the snow one of the days, but then the temperatures dropped so low that it was too dangerous to go out and play. It was a long time to hibernate with two small children. By Wednesday, our jobs were expecting us back to work, but the schools were all still closed. Fortunately I have a friend with a home daycare who was able to come to my rescue and watch the kids on Wednesday while we worked.
Then on Thursday, my son had surgery to get tubes in his ears. The surgery went just fine and he was playing normally within an hour of arriving home. This meant another day off work, playing at home. Today everyone is back to work and our regular daycare, trying to get back to our normal routine. This is the 3rd week in a row with a messed up routine since we just came back from Christmas break last week.
I have loved all the extra time with my kids and husband. I know that in a few short weeks, this will all feel like a distant memory and I’ll miss all these extra moments. A part of me feels guilty for not accomplishing more during all of this time off. I should have organized my pantry and linen closet. I shouldn’t have baskets of clean clothes still lying around needing to be hung up. Our sheets should have been washed and changed; maybe I should have spent more time on “educational” activities with the kids instead of just lazy-ing around every day. I had high hopes of reading a couple books on my Kindle, but somehow only read a few pages. I could have written so many blog posts with all of this time at home!
But we did make snow cream and snow angels. We tried blowing bubbles to watch them freeze. We sang and danced and played the piano. We enjoyed “tea” and play-doh cookies while I tried to sneak in a few work emails. We had many delicious meals as a family. We snuggled up in our jammies and read books under warm blankets. We stared out the windows and watched the snow fall. We talked about all sorts of things and didn’t need to worry about rushing to go anywhere. It was wonderful.
Sure there were many grumpy moments and squabbles between the kids. The constant need to drag the baby away from pulling lamps onto his head really started to get old. I even proclaimed a “mommy’s choice TV hour” yesterday because I couldn’t bring myself to watch one more kid’s show. I didn’t even want to watch TV, I just needed noise that wasn’t teaching me to count (Jake and the Neverland Pirates), or speak Spanish (Dora the Explorer), or go to the potty (Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood). One day my husband was using one of our Little People toys as a catapult to send other toys flying across the living room. It was a bit of a dangerous activity, but nobody cared because it was something new to do that made us all laugh.
I’m so grateful for this extra time that we got to spend as a family. Family time is so rare these days. Weekends are usually busy with places to go and people to see. Evenings are often filled with dinner and baths and not much playing together. It was nice to be forced to just take some time out and spend it with the people we love the most. It really made me thankful that I have such an amazing little family to live life with.
Someday I’ll get the pantry cleaned out. I’ll probably wash the sheets and put the clothes away this weekend. The kids will have plenty of “educational” activities starting back up at daycare next week. And the books to read and blog posts to write will happen eventually. I’m glad that I’ve reached a point in life and parenting that I’ve given up on beating myself up over silly things that don’t get accomplished. Sure, I still have lots of hopes and dreams. I still want to get better at keeping up with household duties. I still create long to do lists. But I’ve realized the important things are actually people. I’ve come to understand that time with people that I love is more valuable than great accomplishments. I know that these days with children who want my undivided attention 24/7 won’t be here for long.
So I rest. I play. I love. I laugh.
I sing and dance. I kiss and hug.
I listen to silly 4 year old stories.
I nurse my toddler 8 million times in one day.
I play another game of Candy Land.
I build another tower for the kids to knock over.
I stay up late talking to my husband and laughing over the silly things our kids do.
I cook another meal that I hope my four year old will eat.
I read that same story for the thousandth time.
And watch the same Christmas episode of Backyardigans until June.
These days are long and hard and short and fun. I’ve never been so exhausted in my life, yet I can’t wait for them to wake up each morning to snuggle with me on the couch. This is life. Beautiful, wonderful life. Let us not forget that “the good life” doesn’t need to be sought after and achieved, it just needs to be enjoyed.